August 3rd, 2010
10:14 AM ET

Panel denies landmark status for Islamic center and mosque site near ground zero

From CNN Senior Correspondent Allan Chernoff in New York:

New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission denied landmark status Tuesday for a building at the site of a proposed Islamic center and mosque near ground zero.

The commissioners voted unanimously against landmark status for 45-47 Park Place. It and an adjoining building are owned by real estate developer Soho Properties, which intends to build an Islamic center two blocks north of the former site of the World Trade Center.

While the public vote was the focus of much debate about the planned Islamic center and mosque, the commission could not have prevented the developers from building such a community center. The commission, by designating the building a landmark, could only have prevented Soho Properties from demolishing the building or significantly altering its exterior.

There is a prayer site in the building currently, so Muslims are peacefully praying in the building already.

"We will continue going forward with the project. It's a project that will build bridges," said Oz Sultan, spokesman for the Cordoba Initiative, the organization behind the planned center. It says the group is "committed to promoting positive interaction between the Muslim world and the West."

Cordoba opposed landmark status for the five-story building because it would like to build a taller, modern building. "It's not minarets," said Sultan, who described a mock-up of the proposed center as consistent with the latest architecture found in New York City.

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and other city leaders support the Islamic center.

Opponents, including former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, have argued against a mosque being so close to the scene of the nation's worst terrorist attack.

"Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing," Palin said last month on her Twitter account.

The Anti-Defamation League, an organization that battles anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry, is asking that the Islamic center and mosque be built farther away from ground zero in consideration of families who lost loved ones during the September 11, 2001, attacks.

"Building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain - unnecessarily - and that is not right," the organization said in a written statement.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission pointed out prior to its decision that it would have nothing to do with the planned use of the structure.

"The purpose of tomorrow's vote is to decide whether the building has a special character or special historical or aesthetic interest or value as part of the development, heritage or cultural characteristics of New York City, New York state or the nation," commission spokeswoman Elisabeth de Bourbon said Monday.

Most recently the home of a Burlington Coat Factory retailer, 45-47 Park Place was completed in 1858. The Landmarks Commission described it as "a prominent example of the store and loft structures that dominated the dry goods warehouse districts of Lower Manhattan" during the era.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Houses of worship • Interfaith issues • Islam • Mosque • Muslim • New York • United States

soundoff (1,819 Responses)
  1. What maroons!

    For Muslims that have been fooled for hundreds of years, Allah was Muhammed's pet monkey.

    August 3, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  2. Edward


    August 3, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
  3. sunny

    I am so amazed by ignorance of Americans.. You guys will learn only after losing everything.. I have lived in a country where we have 35% Muslims and share a border with a muslin country.. one thing I know for sure is that The educated Muslims support extremists either openly or silently and fund them and the extremist once kill anyone those who don’t share their values …. Same thing here putting a moderate face to something which isn’t rite .. Why don’t they build a center where you have a mosque, church & a temple for other religions? I think that will put an end to this discussion but I bet you they won’t do that..

    August 3, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
  4. LicensedToSteal

    I wonder who were the incentive morons that voted for the mosque to be built near ground zero? I see those Muslims wanting to build this mosque either as incensitive or they must be complete morons. There is no other possibility.

    I also have some good news for all muslims. There is no Allah, there is only God. There is no Muhammed, there is only Jesus Christ. You will find this to be true when you die, but by then, it will be too late for you.

    August 3, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  5. Crusader

    I say bomb all the muslims back to the stone age, make cave dwelling an accepted form of living.. Wait a minute, that would be a step up.. They started it, let's us finish it..

    August 3, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  6. brad

    The first amendment guarantees freedom of religion. Not freedom of religion as long as it is popular. Not as long as it is only christianity. It means no one in this country can stop a group from worshipping as they choose. What part of that do people not understand? i swore to protect the US freedoms. All of them. even the ones I dont agree with.

    August 3, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
  7. Mike

    Why are you so persistent on building on that particular site? Because you want to stir things up, of course. That is what you do. Go build your mosque but do it somewhere else. Ever since 9-11 we have been bending over backwards for you. WHY?? We must be nuts!!!

    August 3, 2010 at 10:11 pm |
    • Nicholas Kattar

      When you say we have been bending over backwards for you. whom exactly are you referring to? What exactly have "we" been doing as far as bending over backwards? I don't recall there being a "Help a Muslim Day."

      August 4, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  8. what's new

    oh this is another religious dispute? what else is new in the world?

    August 3, 2010 at 10:11 pm |
  9. David

    Any religion that promotes using their own children (rigged with explosives) to sacrifice themselves and kill innocent and unsuspecting bystanders, has the same if not lower moral compass than a child killing pedophile.

    August 3, 2010 at 10:09 pm |
  10. Kiran

    This Mosque is a Command center for the next attack on WTC, so they wanted to have it as near as possible!!!

    I watched lot of debates about this and people supporting the mosque say people of all religion including Muslims died on 911, but they failed to mention that 100% of the 911 killers were Muslims.

    question to the people who support this saying religious freedom, let's say some point America becomes Muslim majority, are these Muslims who talk about American values and religious freedom treat all religions as same when they are in majority? Is there any Muslim country show this as an example?

    August 3, 2010 at 10:03 pm |
  11. Narinder Kumar/Fresno/CA

    It shoud be stop otherwise this will be a Babri Mosque of USA. Babri Mosque was build by occupier of that by replacing a temple as a symbol of victory.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:56 pm |
  12. steve

    Just remember that what goes up can come down!

    August 3, 2010 at 9:46 pm |
  13. David

    If America's current forced sensibilities and lawyer dictated political correctness dogma had existed in the 30's, as it does now, Hitler and his band of thugs would have marched across the world, as if it was a Sunday stroll and relished the ease in which subjugation and tyranny was allowed to bloom.
    Our silent generation sacrificed themselves for what, to hand over our pride, know how and dream to a world that has hated us for generations and wants to see us vanish for good.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:44 pm |
  14. Carl, Secaucus, NJ

    Someone in my office today was talking about an algorithm, and I thought about how we get this word from al-Khwarizmi, a great Muslim mathematician. When Christian Europe was in the Dark Ages, it was Muslims who were keeping science alive, making research and discoveries that helped to spark the Renaissance. It is true they were also slaveholders and conquerers of native people, but I have to admit this is also true of Washington and Jefferson, who were men of the Enlightenment. A person, and a culture, can do good and also at the same time do evil.

    There were plenty of Christians in America–just 150 years ago, not a thousand–who quoted the Bible to justify slavery; we had to fight a brutal war to end it and we're still living with that legacy. Do you think everyone in history became Christian by free choice, without coercion? When we Christians conquered the Western Hemisphere from its native people, we didn't destroy or forcibly convert one or two religions, we did it to dozens, some of which were likely older than Abraham.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:34 pm |
  15. cosmicsnoop

    Why all this talk and fear about Muslims taking over? Are all of you that wishy-washy in your thinking that you feel you could be manipulated and converted to another religion? No? Then what is the problem? Exactly how are we all going to be converted to Islam? Basically, the terrorists have won(their religion is irrelevant). If they haven't won than why isn't there Twin Towers 2 on that site instead of a hole? What does that say to the world? When citizens of the freest country in history are willing to give up those freedoms(make no mistake, if you are willing to take them from one group, that means we all lose them) because of fear, they have completely lost what this country means.
    Ben Franklin:"They that can give up essential liberty to attain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty or safety."

    August 3, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
  16. David

    The mere fact that a group want to build a place close to where their Muslim brothers perpetrated a heinous crime against humanity and innocence, shows a complete lack of empathy with good moral values, just their way of further demonstrating just how weak and naive the USA has become and we embrace our own self loathing.
    Like Rome, we will be destroyed from the inside and we just sit back and sip our cokes.............

    August 3, 2010 at 9:14 pm |
    • PeaceTV

      Right on, Americans have become so naive that when a bunch of LIERS (i.e. Bush/Cheney) tell them that building # 7 fell for no reason they say LIERS are telling the TRUTH caus those who lie always tell the truth thats what Americans believe. God save America!

      August 3, 2010 at 9:20 pm |
  17. PeaceTV

    Mr. Stone please inform your self before going crazy with your imagination.

    Seriously, watch the video made by the 911 families called "911 Press for Truth"

    August 3, 2010 at 9:13 pm |
  18. 21k

    xtians should practice what they preach. "what would jah-sus do?" he would have allowed the mosque.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:13 pm |
  19. family guy

    Bill Walko
    "Do you think Muslim mothers sit at home neglecting their children because they're too focused on the blue prints they have to destroy the entire planet?"

    i kind of do , yes ...they do kill thier children for honor . i have no doubt that you use your children as human sheilds for political gain. i just retired after 20 years in the military , i was combat arms . i was over seas 5 times .
    i have no doubt we are at war with islam .

    August 3, 2010 at 9:11 pm |
  20. Carl LaFong

    38 You have heard that it has been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say to you, That you resist not evil: but whoever shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if any man will sue you at the law, and take away your coat, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever shall compel you to go a mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him that asks you, and from him that would borrow of you turn not you away.

    43 You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy. 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love them which love you, what reward have you? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if you salute your brothers only, what do you more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
    Matthew 5:38 -48.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:06 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.